Wednesday, February 18, 2009

All gone.

Almost as quickly as it came, saw and conquered, so it has melted with the exception of these massive snow balls rolled in the park looking rather incongruous in the sunshine. I listened last week to the news on local radio casting doom and gloom about closed schools, buses not running, the county ground to a standstill etc. etc. What a stark contrast this made to the reality on the streets and in the parks, where everyone was out having fun - snowball fights, tobogganing and building snowmen. I guess that will be it now, possibly for some years. What fun it was and how it brought back memories of ones own childhood as a crisp, well formed snowball goes down the back of your neck.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flower Power.

Braced for the busiest days of the year the stalwart and delightful staff at Flower Corner are ready to sell, wrap, listen, advise and deliver thousands of blooms this weekend. It’s quite a risky business. All those flowers will fade rapidly if not shifted over the next three days. Those who plan in advance were in today ordering the best, tomorrow will be the last minute’ers and Sunday morning will be those in the shit trying to bail themselves out of a tricky situation. My pals Naomi and Steve run a florists in Gloucester, Steve seems to end up doing a lot of the deliveries, like Paul, the owner of Flower Corner. Steve told me he was amazed at the number of girls who, when he knocks on the door with a lavish bouquet ask him to tell the bloke to shove them where the sun don’t shine, and slam the door in his face! Strange creatures women.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

R.I.P Vicbag

Vicky Keens-Soper, aka Vic-bag, or Vicky Keen Groper was our first employee at TJ’s Hamburgers when we opened back in 1982. Vicky was a little older than us and a member of the much revered Clarendon Park Women's Army. A group of women who all went through divorce at about the same time and were feared throughout the area. Vicbag was a star though, and a good friend as well as model employee for about 7 years before drifting off into a thing called a career. Social Services, working with ‘lifers’ in prison, from memory. However, she was always at her best flirting with the young chaps and this picture was taken at Clive Millac’s 40th a couple of years ago when she was in full flow with Clive and Leon Fisk. Vicky was always good at listening to the problems of others. Hence the career listening to prisoners. Maybe her own colourful life equipped her for that. It seemed to have many phases. First the Mum, living in a Chateau in France bringing up Robert, Alex and Gus, then a vague cultural existence with Maurice 2nd in Clarendon Park, then her ‘wild’ days working for us and sharing her life with Doug, before settling down with Stephen in Devon and starting a whole new life. It all adds up to far more ‘life’ than most of us manage and yet she embraced it all. It was last Autumn that I had a call from Splev (Ian Splevings) to say she was not well and in Hospital. Things were apparently ‘not looking good’ and just today I bumped into her old pal, Lynne Smith, who confirmed Vicky had died last week. A great loss. Many fond memories, but one that sticks in my mind is when I had completed a basic food hygiene course and felt I should assert the importance of hand washing before starting work to all the TJs staff. “There’s no need for me to wash mine, they are perfectly clean already” was Vicky’s predictable response! R.I.P.